Most overseas Filipino workers travel to different parts of the world to usually work in the hospitality, construction, and medical industries. But John Ray Cerna was the first Filipino to go to the UAE and work in a different sector of the society – in law enforcement.
Officer Cerna, who has resided in the UAE since 2006, was born in Zamboanga City on March 30, 1972 and graduated with a degree in Business Management from the Mindanao Sulu State College. He writes, reads, and speaks fluent Arabic, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In an interview with Tatak Pinoy sa UAE, Cerna revealed that he started working as a salesperson for a European company that sells furnitures for three and a half years and as a travel manager when he first arrived in the UAE.
His journey to becoming a policeman started when Dra. Maria Jade Catalan Opulencia introduced him to Atty. Barney at the Consulate in Dubai. Atty. Barney then introduced him to Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes who gave him the job interview, according to Illustrado.
Cerna said that it was not a smooth sail to get to where he is now, but the problems he encountered geared him for what was bound to happen – to be named as the first Filipino police officer in the UAE.
He has been working as a servant of the law for years now and many Filipinos look up to the achievement he has reached.
Cerna’s face was on several print and websites when he got appointed. He earlier said that he would like to be known as a role model who would uphold righteousness.
He mostly reminds Filipinos in the UAE to abide with the law for a stress-free life in the Gulf state. He would inform his compatriots about the most common offenses Filipinos there commit and remind them to avoid doing the same mistakes.
In September 22, 2016, Cerna met Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes once again, no longer as a civilian, but as a full-fledged police officer in Ajman.
Photo credits: Pencil Written